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Innovation at core as DkIT adapts to Covid protocol for new academic year

Haneen Babkar
Haneen Babkar, a BSc in Pharmaceutical Science student from Dundalk and former pupil of St Vincent’s Secondary School attends First Year Induction at DkIT.

Students across all years and courses returned to DkIT for the start of the 2020/21 academic year this week, with new first year students undergoing their induction amidst the backdrop of the new Covid-19 normal across the campus in Dundalk.

As is the case with lectures this year, the induction on Monday and Tuesday was a blended combination of on-campus and online elements which allowed new students an opportunity to see the campus and participate in their opening lectures in a safe and controlled manner, in line with Dundalk Institute of Technology’s new COVID-19 Operating Plan.

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Second, third and fourth-year students recommenced their studies on Wednesday.

As previously reported, students will undertake their studies this year via a blend of on-campus and real-time remote learning. The majority of lectures and tutorial classes will be delivered online while, where remote learning is not possible, practical classes will be delivered on campus.

“A high degree of planning has been developed to ensure that our campus was ready for the safe return of our students. While many of our operating procedures and policies may have changed, our ethos of learner-centred education has not,” DkIT President Michael Mulvey said.

“Our academic staff continue to display the same level of passion and dedication to their disciplines and over recent weeks they have demonstrated a huge degree of innovation to adapt their programmes for blended learning.

“All existing student services and supports remain available to students and we’ve invested in new digital resources to ensure teaching and learning and indeed other aspects of the student experience can be continued this year.

“We remain committed to delivering a fulfilling and enriching academic and student experience while protecting the academic integrity of our programmes and awards and abiding by all public health guidelines.

Among the measures produced by the third level institute ahead of the return of students this month, DkIT has published a Student COVID-19 Charter which was developed in conjunction with the Students’ Union while they have also created a Student Information Portal hub, where students will find a list of FAQs, general guidance and live COVID-19 updates.

“It’s great to be here as a registered student. I’m excited and a bit overwhelmed but DkIT is local and had a good reputation, particularly in engineering so I’m looking forward to the year ahead,” Emmett O’Brien (pictured below), a former De La Salle Dundalk student and new Civil Engineering student from Dundalk said.

Last month, it was announced that €871,000 has been granted to the third level institute to support continued investment in capital works and equipment, while an additional €118,000 was released by the Government to support students’ wellbeing and mental health for the academic year ahead in light of the additional pressures brought on by the pandemic.

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